It's something we see a lot more of these days on social media, #bekind. But what does that really mean?
Social media has a lot to answer for with how people interact with each other now. We're overwhelmed with fake lifestyles, strong opinions and those who just have an axe to grind. We've all seen it and probably done the same thing where you read something you disagree with and express your own thoughts and feelings, but forgetting that the other side of the screen is another human being.
It feels like we've managed to disassociate ourselves from being interpersonal, whether it's through fear of judgement or simply a coping mechanism to deal with the daily crap that life throws at us. And I see it more and more now (probably because I've become more observant). But as an example, I walk our dog daily around our village and whilst out always make an effort to get eye contact with anyone I see so I can then say hi. It's really sad that a large percentage of those people either avoid eye contact or just grunt something back at me. Maybe it's Teddy the Rottweiler's fault? ;)
So here's a question, when was the last time you genuinely made an effort to honestly say hi to someone, to ask how they were and take an interest in them, or even say thank you for something they did?
Last week whilst driving down the M4 back from the Cotswolds, we saw a young woman on one of the bridges waving at cars going underneath. She was smiling away, hoping to get a response. So we waved back, my wife and I grinning at her in the hope she saw us. She did! Her beaming smile and frantic wave made us laugh and cheered up the rest of the journey. For something so simple, it has a brilliant effect on the mind and something we all need a little more of.
If you read my previous post regarding the heart breaking loss of my cat, what I didn't talk about were the friends reaching out to me and expressing their sympathy. Their kindness cost nothing and took seconds to give, but it meant the world.
These are the little things in life I'm starting to notice and understand their importance. I do my best to be authentic to others and express my gratitude or offer praise where it's due. It's far to easy to take others for granted and expect them to do the things they do, but what's wrong with thanking your partner each time they cook or do something mundane? If you genuinely thank someone with authenticity, they'll not only feel better about themselves but will want to do it again.
Be Kind to yourself.....
This is the bit I struggle with (to be honest I'm rubbish at it), but in reality it should be the easiest.
There's a fine balance between helping or supporting others and doing the same for yourself. There are many reasons why people do put others before themselves, perhaps their core values are different or more tragically their core beliefs are damaged and they think of themselves as less worthy for love and kindness.
I have a habit of over caring for others without putting in the time to make sure I'm ok, which can often have a negative impact and result in depression or burn out. I have to remind myself it's not selfish in anyway to sometimes look after number 1. After all, what good am I to help others if I'm not looking after me?
This is one of many things I'm learning during my recovery, that self soothing is absolutely critical to my wellbeing. There are lot's of techniques, but I'm starting off small and that's ok.
What I will continue to do though is be kind to those around me and grateful for what they do.
Try it, it gets addictive:)